Humour exercise


In the book Motherless Brooklyn, there are a few comedy scenes that help lighten the intensity of the detective book. For example, Lionel gets ambushed by these four men in identical suits and instead of being typically scared, he notices them all wearing sunglasses with an orange tag still on them, so this reveals the beginning of a not-so- typical ambush. One of the men says to Lionel, “We want you to be scared” (146). Which is a very odd thing to say, because automatically you know that these four men aren’t serious, evil men. Therefore, Lionel sees and is confirmed to know, by one of the men, that he won’t get hurt and this whole act is more of a joke than anything! The characters of the four men talking individually to each other as if Lionel wasn’t there makes this whole ambush funny. There’s a lot of repetition of the the men saying, “We’re supposed to scare a guy”to Lionel, but never actually do, not verbally nor physically (150). This whole scene of the confusion between the four men discussing what to do and how to make Lionel scared of them, while he is in the car makes Lionel and the readers look at these men as a joke, as well as the situation itself.

Another comedic scene, was Lionel’s thoughts at a Zen session with Kimmery trying to fix himself on his “Buddha nature” (195). In this scene, not only verbally, but mentally as usually his Tourette Syndrome acts up again trying to keep in peace.  Lethem has a very unique way of writing, especially with his twist of words, so Lionel’s thoughts as he’s trying to be calm and focused on his breathing at this Zen scene is: “One Mind. Sick Mind. Dirty Mind. Bailey Mind. One Mind. Oreo Man.” (196).His wordplay always makes me laugh, I always find it funny when Lionel mentions Bailey in one of his tics, it’s something he repeats a lot and is something apart of him that eventually becomes apart of you.

Julia Graziani


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